Music-lovers are being called to join a funding campaign to save legendary London music hangout, the Social - which is fighting the site becoming a cocktail bar.
The Heavenly Records run venue began as a Sunday club-night at the Albany Pub in 1994, where The Chemical Brothers had their first London residency. Soon clubbers were queuing around the block.
From here The Social moved to Smithfields and Turnmills before getting their current venue on Little Portland Street.
Opening in the summer of 1999, it joined a thriving Central London scene that included the Astoria, LA2, The End, Plastic People and Madame JoJos. None of which survive.
The Social is still a successful venue. Despite its intimate size, massive names line-up to play - including the Chemical Brothers, Beck, Jazzy B, Adele, Fatboy Slim, Bon Iver, Aphex Twin, Florence and the Machine, Cold War Steve, Young Fathers, DJ Yoda, Jack White, Irvine Welsh, Saint Etienne, Black Midi, Laura Marling, the Avalanches, Sleaford Mods, Hot Chip, Lily Allen, Arctic Monkeys, For Tet, Justin Robertson and many more.
The venue is embedded in the music community and this week it turned to the community with a crowd-funding campaign to raise £95k. Within the first 24 hours over £17,000 had been donated. “We’re blown away,” says The Social’s Carl Gosling. “Not just the fundraising, but the love and good vibes.”
On hearing the news Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), who famously sorted his records out on the floor of the gents, tweeted: “So many friends made so much good music, so much love. How can we let it slip away?”
The money will buy a controlling share from the leaseholder. Without this the venue will close its doors in two weeks.
Too many of the UK’s historic clubs have closed. Please save this iconic venue by donating whatever pennies you can afford here.
Words: Ben Osborne